As an environmental gerontologist, Dr. Emi Kiyota, based in Washington, DC, focuses on improving both the built environment and the organizational culture of long term care for elders. Inspired by living in a nursing home during her graduate studies, Kiyota has become an expert on age-friendly housing, hospitals, and clinical care centers in the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa and frequently speaks on these issues at international gatherings. In 2010, she founded Ibasho, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities that value their elders, embodying the Japanese concept of “a place where one feels at home being oneself.“ She is president and CEO of Ibasho, as well as serving on the boards of directors of Eden Alternative and International Homes and Services of Aging.
Working with local elders, Kiyota led the development of the first “Ibasho Cafe” in Ofunato, Japan, after the tsunami of 2011. The café, operated by elders, is a center for community recovery where they can share their experience with other community members. Kiyota is replicating this concept in the Philippines and Nepal, with peer-to-peer exchanges for training and support.
As a Loeb Fellow, Kiyota will continue working to create a shared future for elders internationally in which aging is something not to fear but to enjoy as a valued community member. She will explore how to make communities more inclusive and resilient by empowering elders to help prepare for longer lifespans in both industrialized and developing countries and evaluating the impact of interventions. Her vision is to provide elders with a range of opportunities to contribute to the whole community.